As I had done a few years ago in Central Oregon, I recently coordinated an art show for the local homeschool community. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in art and connected to community of children – whether through the home, charter, public, or private school circles. There is truly little work required on the part of the coordinator and the students and families get so much out of the experience.
The first thing I do is reserve a space to display the art. Ideally, this is a public space that is free to non-profit use. I used the public library which has a large conference room with tables, chairs, and presentation equipment (pull-down screen, podium, etc.) available. I elected to allot a four hour window for the show as the conference room at our library is not a secure area. In the future, it was suggested that I make arrangements with the librarian to have the students’ work on display for a full week in another part of the library (perhaps in a display case) so that more people would have an opportunity to enjoy it.
Once the date was nailed down, I created a flier and registration form that I posted on our local homeschool board. To encourage the kids to try something new, they were allowed to submit up to three pieces of art, but each must be from a different medium. In addition, I required that the work be relatively recent (within two years). Each family was asked for a $5 registration fee to cover the cost of prizes. In the future however, I think I will seek out donations from local art supply stores, online retailers, and even other local artists to make the event more accessible to all.
I also notified the local newspaper and community magazines, inviting the public to come out and enjoy the students’ work. The kids, in turn, invited extended family, friends, and teachers. Everyone was given an opportunity to vote for their favorite pieces – one vote for the 8 & under age group and one vote for 9 & older age group. This year, there were only 14 participants so I used only two age divisions. If there are more participants in the future, I would consider using more divisions. At the conclusion of the day, the votes were tallied and winners (those receiving the most votes) were announced.
The greatest thing about the show was the fascination the kids, parents, and community shared with the students’ work. Everyone was blown away by their skill and creativity. Many were taking notes and asking questions about technique. The kids were so proud of their work and delighted in sharing it with others – with friends and even strangers. It was indeed of inspiration and recognition.
[Admin Note ~ This year, the show was open to only homeschool students. Next year, I may consider including a division for parents.]